Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else;
you are the one who gets burned.
I’ve been struggling with a problem. Rather than go into the details of my story, I would like to reflect for a bit on how this conflict has snared me in a web of dissatisfaction with another person. My mind tells me I have “every right” to be angry with this person who has not been treating me fairly. Of course I would be “justified” if I found a way to “force him to comply with my wishes” or “to get him back”. Last conversation I had with him my heart started racing- I could clearly feel how much my nervous system was triggered by talking about the issue of contention between us. I begin to feel helpless and frustrated because I feel I am “right”, but the issue remains unresolved.
Wow, it’s a little scary to see how quickly I slip into rigid black and white thinking when (for whatever reason) a conflict has triggered me and I am getting super charged emotionally.
Instead of dwelling once again in my frustration and righteous anger, I decided to spend some time doing a powerful breath meditation that helped my physical body to calm down. When I’m in a hyper-aroused emotional state (activating my sympathetic nervous system), my mind gets sucked into the dark depths of the problem. I can’t see new possibilities or ways to get “unstuck”.
After the meditation, I can feel my body relaxing. My breath is longer and deeper, my heart rate has slowed, and I am better able to access the parts of my brain that feel empathy for the other person’s situation. From this more relaxed state, I’m better able to generate solutions that are creative and outside the confining box of the solutions I cling to when I am angry and agitated.
From this calmer perspective, I can now see that drawing out this stalemate is not in my best interest. Often our problems encompass so much more nuance than who is ‘right’ and who is ‘wrong’.
How might I feel if I can find it in me to forgive this other person; make peace with the less-than-perfect but perfectly adequate solution he’s offering; and gain release from my angry, tangled knot of emotions? If I can do that, I also open a door to free up my energy and actions for other areas where there are opportunities to grow, experience, and soar…